Purpose: Identification of prognostic factors is a primary basis for planning the treatment and predicting the outcome of patients with colorectal cancer. Reviewing studies from the literature performed using univariate and multivariate analyses and their own study, the authors critically discuss the prognostic value of the clinicopathologic parameters of the tumor.
Methods: Among 853 patients with colorectal tumors seen at the Department of Clinical Surgery of the Catholic University of Rome, Italy, 690 cases that were curatively resected the study. Overall survival rate, related to the clinicopathologic variables, was calculated, and univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.
Results: Five-year and ten-year overall survival rates were 70 and 55 percent, respectively. Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that node involvement, distant metastases, bowel obstruction, and patient gender are factors independently related to outcome.
Conclusions: Data from the literature and the present study suggest that only a few clinical parameters, particularly bowel obstruction, and some pathologic factors (tumor stage, vessels invasion, and tumor ploidy) are related to patient survival rate and are the most reliable prognostic criteria. In prospective clinical studies, any other new pathologic or molecular factors should be matched with these parameters to confirm their value in outcome prediction.